Ice hockey originated in Canada from the early 19th century, according to several similar sports played in Europe, even though the term”hockey” comes from the old French word”hocquet”, meaning”stick”. About 1860, a puck was substituted for a ball, and in 1879 two McGill University students, Robertson and Smith, devised the very first rules.
The first recognised team, the McGill University Hockey Club, was formed in 1880 as hockey became the Canadian federal sport and spread around the nation. In 1892 the Governor General of Canada donated the Stanley Cup, which was initially won by a team representing the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association.
The game migrated south to the United States during the 1890s, and games are proven to have taken place there between Johns Hopkins and Yale Universities in 1895. Ice hockey spread to Europe around the turn of the century, and also the first Olympic Games to add ice hockey for guys were the 1920 Antwerp Summer Games.
Six-a-side men’s ice hockey has been on the programme of every variant of the Winter Games. Women’s ice hockey has been approved as an Olympic sport in 1992, and made its official introduction in 1998 at Nagano.
Unsurprisingly, Canada dominated the first championships. However, in 1956, and until its dissolution, the Soviet Union took over and became the number one team. It had been interrupted only by USA victories in 1960 in 1980 and in Squaw Valley in Lake Placid.
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